Abstract With the notion of homologoumene arete Isocrates shows himself to be an exponent of popular ethics, or “common sense”. Isocrates integrates established concepts of everyday ethics with his idea of education, which at all levels he brings into association with public affirmation. This is not a notion of education concerned only with inner values—Platonic education, viewed from this perspective, has to appear reductionist—but with a conception of homologoumene arete that manifests itself as publicly effective, in the sense of traditional polis-ethics. Isocrates proclaims the unity of appearance and reality and remains, even in the face of failures, such as the case of his pupil Timotheos, an optimist. He justifies aspirations for influence and success, which are a consideration for all mankind, as long as these are aroused within the frame of justice, but unjust Realpolitik can not be absolutely avoided.
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